This I Believe

Garrett - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on November 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Success Is About Making the Right Choices

Growing up is never easy. As we get older we gain responsibility. Being a high school student I often find it difficult to manage my schedule and still have time left over for myself. Day in and day out I work my hardest to become a successful individual, but when I look around, I realize something. Others, who work just as hard as me to achieve the same level of success, fall short. But why is this? It’s true that they are just as diligent and hardworking, but it’s the choices they have made that have set them back.

I have always been one of the youngest children in my family. Growing up, I would always watch my family members, learning from them by things they taught me, and mistakes they made in their life, both big and small. As I continued to watch them grow older, as they began to plan not only their careers but the rest of their lives, I noticed they had difficulties making their choices, specifically, the right choices. Because of these decisions, I watched as their lives changed, and I learned from the wrong choices they made.

All of them had the potential to be successful in all aspects of life; however due to one decision that each one of them made, their lives were completely turned around. Influenced heavily by peer pressure, their choices involved the use of drugs and alcohol, and teenage pregnancy. Before they knew it the road to success was taken out from under them. The goals they had worked so hard to achieve were suddenly out of reach. Watching them fall asunder, I realized that I did not want to work as hard as I have and achieve nothing. Because of what happened to them, I finally understood that success is not only determined by how hard you work, but also by the decisions you make.

They say we learn not only by our own mistakes, but by the mistakes of others. Well, I have found this statement to hold very true in real life. Not only did I bear witness to the errors of their ways, I learned from their mistakes in order to improve my life. Because of where they have failed, I have succeeded by making better decisions. I believe that choices you make have the ability to influence your success in life. One may argue that to err is human, and that we all deserve a second chance. In some cases they are correct, but I am not willing to take a risk only to realize that I have fallen short of my goals, and that my second chance only eludes me in the end.